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Preparing for Cultural Diversity: Resources for Teachers

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How can teachers effectively engage students from diverse backgrounds? It's a question many teachers face, and of course, there isn't one prescribed strategy that works. Luckily, there are many useful resources to help new and veteran educators explore the subject.

If you're looking for a starting point, How Can We Prepare Teachers to Work With Culturally Diverse Students and Their Families? (an article from the Family Research Project at Harvard University) features insightful advice and useful tips from leading diversity education specialists. These researchers agree on the underlying message that communication plays an integral role; you'll also find insight into preparation and information about connecting with students and building relationships with families.

Two other sources of inspiration are Yvonne Pratt-Johnson's article Communicating Cross-Culturally: What Teachers Should Know and this book excerpt from ASCD's Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners. In addition to these articles, here are a few other resources that will help educators develop inclusive learning environments and approach race, gender equality, empathy, and bullying prevention during class.

  • Resources for Multicultural Classrooms (Teaching Tolerance): Produced by The Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance’s classroom resources page offers free lesson plans for exploring topics like race and ethnicity, gender equality, and sexual orientation with students. For specific teaching practices, start with Teaching Tolerance's Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Teaching, a self-paced, four-part, professional development learning program.

  • Awareness Activities (EdChange.org): The EdChange-produced Multicultural Pavilion is a wonderful assortment of resources for educators. This Awareness Activities collection provides plenty of engaging ideas and activities to introduce diversity at the beginning of the school year. Don't miss the Teacher's Corner for curriculum ideas, strategies, and much more.

  • Teaching Diverse Learners (Brown University): This website is "a resource dedicated to enhancing the capacity of teachers to work effectively and equitably with English-language learners (ELLs)." You'll find great practical teaching strategies, ideas for engaging elementary ELLs, and tips for reaching out to families.

  • Lesson Plans and Resources (Teaching for Change): Teaching for Change is a nonprofit, with a mission of providing "teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write, and change the world." The site features thoughtful and engaging lesson plans, tips for addressing race and diversity in the class, and links to great teacher resources.

  • Lesson Plans and Resources for Multiculturalism and Diversity: Scholastic produced this collection of resources for teachers. Along with some engaging lesson plans, there are also plenty of articles featuring tips and strategies to help educators engage students and families from diverse backgrounds. Connect With Kids and Parents of Different Cultures is a great place to start.

  • Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students: This TeacherVision-produced article is full of useful and ready-to-use tips for welcoming and engaging diverse students. Discover more useful ideas and lesson plans in TeacherVision's Diversity Resources for Teachers collection.

  • Resource Library (Inclusive Schools Network): This library is rich with resources covering a range of topics on diversity, with a focus on creating equity for students with disabilities. Start with the Inclusion Basics, which provides a great overview of creating an inclusive classroom. The Culturally Responsive Teaching resource page offers great ideas, tips, and strategies for reaching culturally diverse students with disabilities. You can also dig deeper into subjects like assessment, collaboration, and working with families.

More From Edutopia

You'll find a trove of insightful articles on Edutopia. Check out the Culturally Responsive Teaching page for additional resources. Here are a few popular blog posts from Edutopia writers:

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DbaiG's picture

Educative and learning post! The issue relates to educational psychology. All the points you have made are worth-considering. Teachers must find creative ways through different opportunities that our era offers. And above all, the communication with students plays a vital role.

DbaiG

andrearpns's picture
andrearpns
1st grade teacher from Belmont, Calif.

There definitely isn't just one prescribed solution to working with children of diverse backgrounds. I found that communication is key. Primary students love to share their world and it is important to incorporate lots of opportunities for this throughout the school year. It's the best way to build a sense of community, tolerance, and acceptance. I'm sharing this post with my colleagues.

Syolivette Ramirez's picture
Syolivette Ramirez
3rd grade teacher fro Colorado

AS an ELD teacher multicultural awareness is a key component of my lessons. It is important to me to make sure that my students can share about their culture, while the rest learns to respect other views and traditions. This is also an opportunity to make them feel like experts on the topic. Thanks for all the valuable resources.

OliviaYangZii's picture
OliviaYangZii
Communication major student

As a communication major student, I have learnt a lot about diversity conflicts due to differences. I notice that teacher is playing an important role on influence people's attitudes toward difference. Teachers have to help young kids establish right thoughts and behaviors when they meet people who are different from them. In order to decrease stereotype, discriminations and prejudice, we have to concentrate more on young generation, and that is why education matters. This blog provides precious resources about how teachers can lead children to have better understanding and treatment about diversity, like diversity of gender, race or social classes. As the development of globalization, conflicts cause by difference may become more serious. So teach students how to treat difference should become a necessary ability for each teacher to grasp. To be proactive is a useful way to communicate in this context of diversity, and education is something that can make effort.

Kenya's picture

This is an amazing opportunity for teachers to teach children about diversity. It is very important for everyone to know and accept diversity. I didn't learn a lot about diversity until I come to college. I don't want children to do the same. Children will able to accept and comfortable with people from different backgrounds. I am highly encouraging all schools to use this resources.

Jemeecia Johnson's picture

As a student myself I believe that teachers play a huge part in children's lives growing up. If teachers start preaching diversity consciousness and respect at a young age it is more likely to be effective and stick with children through adulthood. I understand that it may be difficult but if teachers get to know each student and about there background it will make communicating a lot easier. This will help them understand their communication methods and why.

Jemeecia Johnson

BrassyLass's picture

Wow! This is a fantastic collection of information! I just happened to stumble upon this article amongst many others while browsing the internet, but this one was the most thorough when it comes to the sheer amount of useful educational material. As an educator, I am always looking for new ways to educate myself into becoming a better teacher for my students. I feel that there is always room to grow and learn, even long after our standard K-12 years are gone. Thank you for taking the time in creating this post. I will thoroughly enjoy discovering, and learning, the new information that you have presented.

Catherine Browning's picture
Catherine Browning
e-Learning Education Analyst at VIF International Education

As all of you have mentioned, a sense of cultural awareness and intercultural competence is becoming increasingly important for educators in our interconnected world. Gaining a sense of cultural awareness can impact the way that we, as educators, understand our students and also affect the way that our students understand their peers.
At VIF International Education, www.viflearn.com, our mission is to develop and foster these global learning opportunities. We believe that it is important for educators to incorporate cultural differences and cross-cultural learning opportunities for students, and so we have developed extensive resources that help educators do just that.

Check out www.viflearn.com as another great resource for educators to gain global professional development opportunities and find extensive global curriculum resources that can easily be incorporated to teach and learn alongside your students!

Catherine Browning - e-Learning Education Analyst at VIF
VIF website: www.vifprogram.com
Twitter: @VIFprogram or @VIFLearn
Facebook: VIF International Education or VIF Learn

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